By Ike Uchechukwu
No fewer than 59 girls including teenagers have been arrested by the Department of State Security, DSS in Calabar after raiding a hotel, brothel, strip club in a covert operation in the early hours of Saturday.
Also, 16 men including alleged homosexuals were also arrested as well as one of the operators of the brothel (Papsi’s Place), Edem John.
Vanguard learned that the Operations by the DSS operatives which lasted for months covertly in a bid to unravel the truth and get to the root of the matter finally paid off in the wee hours of 2:15 am when they raided the brothel, chalet and a lounge at Peace Garden Hotel, along Muritala Mohammed Highway where the girls operate.
The state Director of DSS, Ilupeju Adebayo, said that there was a cartel responsible for luring the girls and making them swear oaths of secrecy and promise not to abscond no matter what or divulge information about the business.
“We arrested them after a raid of some of the spots at Calabar municipality and many of them have confessed that they have people (Kingpin) they deliver money to either daily or weekly.
His words: ”We got an intelligent report and swung into action, we have been on the matter for months, we discovered that the girls are mostly underage, mostly 13, 15, and 19 years of age.
“We also know that they were brought in by a cartel, deeply involved in the business of trafficking and using the girls as commercial sex workers then they bring returns to them at the beginning or close of the week depending on their modus operandi.
“We have made some arrests including that of the owner of “Papsi place” a brothel that houses mostly underage girls who pay him N2,000 on weekdays and N4,000 at weekends as lodging fee. They operate from the hotel to clubs were we arrested them stark naked.
“We have contacted National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, while investigations are ongoing till all those involved in the illicit trade are arrested and charged to court, ‘he said
One of the girls, Princess Oliver, a 19-year-old said that she was brought to Calabar from River State in the guise of giving her a sales girl job but she ended up becoming a commercial sex worker.
Princess said: “I was brought to Calabar through a friend who told me that I will be given a job as a sales girl then she took me to a lady who I only know her name as Aunty Favour. They took me to a brothel at Atamu Street, Calabar South.
“I ran away and then they traced me and brought me back, they wanted to force me to take an oath but I objected and absconded again to meet my friend whom I came with to Calabar then, Aunty Favour came there with the boyfriend and some cult boys and beat me up.
“And told me that if I ran they will kill me or I will die, so I usually go to her house to make returns to her every week but I am not happy with the kind of work I am doing, it as never my intentions to do this ,because my friend did not tell me that it was this kind of job.
“My parents are no longer together because our father left but, I had to do something to help my family, but I was told that I will be doing salesgirl before I came to Calabar from River State but when I got here I that how I got into commercial sex,” she said.
One of the suspects who was among the 16 men in custody, Edem John the owner of Papsi’s Place, a 42-year-old father of two denied any wrongdoing claiming that he has been warning them (underage ones) not to come to his place but because of the trying times, he had no choice but to do his business .
“I have been doing this business for about two years, they pay me N2,000 for the accommodation where they have sex with men. Although I have been warning the little ones to stay away from my place they still come back, and I need to do my business because I have a family to feed.”